Archive for September, 2006

Dealing with a flood of bug reports

Saturday, September 30th, 2006

Damien, I have two pointers to bug-buddy/bugzilla enhancements that should eventually help when they become available, and one about a workaround you can use now:

Your bug-buddy suggestion (search for and present user with possible duplicates at bug submission time) is already filed as bug 345103. Sorry, haven’t had the time to implement it yet. Feel free to follow it. However, there are two other possibilities:

Olav filed bug bug 330323 about creating an interface for automatically rejecting bugs with known stack traces. That would allow maintainers to provide stack traces (and gnome-versions, to avoid rejecting regression reports) of frequently duplicated bugs and having bugzilla have bug-buddy notify the users that the given bug is already known/fixed. Unfortunately, it’s another one of those haven’t-had-time-yet-things.

You can opt to not receive email for bugs in the unconfirmed state, and instead rely on the bugsquad or other volunteers to triage bugs appropriately. Go to your email preferences to achieve this.

Looking for funny bugs in GNOME Bugzilla

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

I’ve been updating/rewriting the documentation on the short search form used in GNOME Bugzilla (known internally as boogle). Of course, most people just need to know “type in a couple words to search on” (example) or “submit an invalid search and just read the builtin error messages to learn more” (example). However, the documentation exists for those that want to learn the gory details of expert searches; to make it more fun, I would like to sprinkle search terms on that page that lead to funny bugs in bugzilla. I already have a few, but want more.

So, know of a funny bug in GNOME Bugzilla? Let me know!

The glass is half full

Sunday, September 24th, 2006

Being a bit bummed about academic stuff can be a great way of getting stuff done in GNOME, however. I caught up on a huge back-pile of email[1], nearly caught up on metacity patch review[2], and even fixed up some bugzilla bugs. One feature request that I’ve wanted for a long time was to enable searching reporters without using the complicated/advanced search page (which is also known as the “wait for your birth certificate to expire while it loads” page); now reporters can be searched with the expected boogle syntax: reporter<op><email1>,<email2>,…,<emailn> where <op> is ‘=’ or ‘!=’ (and ‘:’ is aliased to ‘=’). Simple example:

reporter:foo@bar.com

Also, I introduced two special “email addresses”. ‘me’ and ‘developer’, the latter of which adds an ability that the complicated/advanced form does not have. Thus, if I want to find all nautilus bugs filed by either one of its developers or me I can use the search

product:nautilus reporter:me,developer

This also means I was able to fix the bug about the link for “Bugs without a response” on the product browse page; it now no longer includes bugs filed by one of the product developers.

[1] No, my strategy wasn’t to merely wait until all emails were irrelevant (though it may have seemed that way to some people; my apologies to those individuals).

[2] Of special note, is Thomas’ theme changes, which look like they’ll be ready to land on HEAD very soon. That’ll kill around a dozen bugs or so once merged.

The glass is half empty right now

Sunday, September 24th, 2006

Maybe this will be therapeutic…

I’m still really bummed about finding out all the research I was doing on coming up with a more efficient implicit scheme for the Immersed Boundary method using some kind of projection method variant[1] was all for naught. I believe I can argue pretty convincingly that it is very unlikely anyone could find a very efficient scheme using such methods, at least for the type of problem we are considering. So, instead of finding a really cool method and explaining that one method, I get to explain a ridiculously over-generalized set of possibilities and state why people shouldn’t waste months/years of their time looking for an efficient method within that mess (and point out the specific things that would need to be fixed in order to obtain an efficient scheme using such methods). Oh, and I get to try out a few more methods that don’t fit into that general classification and compare them as well. *sigh*

It also negatively affects our (my?) previous paper a bit too (I did about 95% of the work, so problems with it bother me more than the others involved). I thought that paper was a pretty big result, as it pointed out that some “common knowledge” held in the community was in fact just myths. It answered some questions that have been outstanding for a decade or more in the community, and was supposed to greatly assist in finding an efficient implicit scheme. But, unfortunately, all those results are merely academic unless an efficient implicit implementation can be found. Yeah, I know, I’m a mathematician so it’s supposed to be okay (and even desirable according to some mathematicians I’ve talked to) for practicality to be orthogonal to my work. But I just don’t work that way. If it has no practical use, who cares?[2]

In an effort to cheer me up, Bob has told me a couple of times that “negative results are undervalued too much; they’re still results.” And, well, writing up this stuff should still allow me to finish this calendar year. So the glass isn’t completely empty. Maybe just halfway. ;-)

[1] I need a name for this that more accurately specifies what I mean. But I don’t have anything better right now.

[2] Yes, that might sound a bit odd to those who have read closely and know more about my area of study. The practicality of my research to society, even if I had been much more successful, would still be relatively low. It’s one of the things that has bothered me the most about my doctoral studies, and is one of the things I’m determined to change when I finish up this year, one way or another.